Profumo di Svolta meets the Edgeryders

from Profumo di Svolta community

The majority of students in Matera once out of  high school decide to leave their hometown to attend university somewhere else. This lack of young people in that age range can be partially related to that great lack of energy and active citizenship that is found in many other italian towns.

“Profumo di Svolta” (literally “Fragrance of change”) is born in February 2013, generated by the common feeling of many students who left Matera to attend universities all over Italy, to keep in touch and above all, to keep trying to change their hometown into a better place, filling the gap created by the the many who went away.

Our group is made out of 20 people. Our website contains our manifesto and it is weekly updated with thoughts, stories from our initiatives and many other articles. We are really active on the social network, particularly on facebook where our readers (recently we celebrated the one thousand fans goal) can follow our activities and get in touch with us. We think that the web is a great tool to stay connected regardless of distances, but it will never substitute the real activism of a real community.

Last summer we were all in Matera and we have organized some activities that have involved a lot of  citizens and that have driven us to continue on this way. One of the most interesting initiatives was the removal of tags and scrawls on the Sassi’s walls (particular kind of walls made of tuff stone, a type of igneous rock widespread in our area); this enterprise has involved almost a hundred guys throughout two days of activities and that appreciated a lot by press and social networks.

We believe that LOTE could be the right place in which:

  • introduce ourselves and our manifesto to the Edgeryders;

  • describe the condition of students and young people in Matera;

  • debate the initiatives that we have planned in Matera (also showing pictures and videos) and those that we would like to organize;

  • ask you some advices and collect your important feedback.

We think that our session will last an hour and we ask you to allow us to do it on days 1st and 2nd of November, when we non-resident students will be in Matera.



Ciao Guiseppe,

welcome aboard :) I went on the 100km hike through Basilicata with a group of people, several of whom are from Matera but moved out of the city to find work opportunities elsewhere. They youngest, also called Nadia, had recently graduated and just moved back…at least for now.

I had also heard about the Sassi cleanup you guys did. How are you coordinating and what are the things you personally feel you are learning to do through working with Profumo Di Svolta?

Also, as you guys are students you might want to consider joining the unMonastery residency program. It’s perfect for thesis projects. It provides a valuable context as you get to take on real challenges that someone cares about seeing solved, surrounded by interesting people from whom you can learn and you don’t have to take a loan or starve your way through the thesis work. Even the length of the residency is just about right for doing the field work, developing the prototype and testing it! A perfect fit so if anyone in the Profumo community is looking for a thesis opportunity, do consider sending in an application. There is still time to apply.

Those interested could get help with developing theier prorposal during lote3 if they like. Just let us know if you want to organise an unMonastery residency application co-design session!

Morning Nadia

I read these things or at least 30% of them…

I’d like some kind of clarity about how perfect for thesis projects the unMo could possibly become.  This could be discussed.

Granted that a large percentage of our people may have some background in higher education – but I like to think that we have a healthy number of drop-outs too.

Practical theses in, say appropriate technology, such as you suggest make immediate sense.  Someone eager to study me and my methods might be understandable.

But I must say that if the unconditioned idea of unMo as study centre should get around, I shudder at the thought of more than 1 in 10 unMonks being sociologists, urban planners or trend-journalists.  (Håvard has some redeeming features.)

Of course, you are writing to Guiseppe and his great people, i spot that Italian students have an entirely other benefit to the community – even if it may not be as scholars.

Ben has also floated the idea of unMo as thesis fodder – can you imagine two more heady Brits into the mix?

Off I go, grant writing day,

Ciao, Bembo

Who does this infrastructure serve Bembo?


I find your reaction surprising as it seems to rest on certain assumptions

  1. That a person's choice of formal educational path, or none, defines what they are or are not capable of contributing 
  2. That the students who could be applying are incapable of reading the application terms and conditions and designing an appropriate thesis project
  3. That the students applications would not be subject to peer review like everyone else's.

Also this: “i spot that Italian students have an entirely other benefit to the community – even if it may not be as scholars.”. Which "community: are you referring to? Because as I understand it Materani youth are a HUGE part of a p2p ecosystem we are all building together. One for which the unMonastery is really just enabling social, physical and technical infrastructure. IMHO the unMonastery should serve as an infrastructure to support building homegrown solutions, applying what you learn on a real issue that you and others care about.

As a student, it is hard to find opportunities to develop those real world skills and ability to address wicked challenges with others from different walks of life. Even if you want to, especially if you don’t have access to economic resources. This is an opportunity to do so.

Happy that you guys will be at Lote!

Giuseppe, hi and welcome again :slight_smile:

I also heard about your organisation and remember to having seen a picture with members of Profumo di Svolta cleaning walls in Matera. And that speaks volumes! My experience with a Romanian student organisation (formed abroad) is not so great, mainly because the initiative to bring something back to the country by young Romanians representing the “brain drain” stays at discourse level. A lot of them do this to make themselves feel re-connected in some way, but they are already far and few come back. So kudos for keeping down to earth through concrete actions.

Let me see if I understand, so you would prefer your session to be allocated 1 hour on Friday and another 1 hour on Saturday, is that right? If you agree, I’d put the Friday one from 14:00 in the Building unMonastery track, that way you can also be presented with the thesis opportunity Nadia is mentioning in more detail. and for Saturday we dont have hours, just listing everything, so you’ll be able to schedule it whenever you want, on the spot. works?


Hi Giuseppe,

Welcome, it’s really great to have you here and thank you for reaching out to us - as both Noemi and Nadia have already said, we’d love to have you present mutliple sessions at lote3. I can’t really underestimate how valuable it would be for the project at large to get an understanding for the youth dynamics of Matera and to extend the unMonastery to you as a place for projects such as yours and others in Matera.

If one of your group is interested in joining the unMonastery through an application that would also be amazing and much needed, we don’t want to exist entirely as a foreign body in the existing community in Matera, so perhaps put the word out in your group and see if anyones interested: - we’d be happy to support and help with any application during LOTE.

Many of us will be coming to Matera early, in advance of the event, it’d be really great if we could meet up and spend some time together discussing the things you’ve been doing, Matera and how you see unMonastery and EdgeRyders interacting with the existing scene and community. How does that sound?

Hi Nadia, Bembo, Noemi and Ben,

I am very happy you are interested in our session proposal. And I want to tell you that we are preparing our presentation in the best way.

Nadia, I think that the Sassi cleanup was a meeting moment for us. Students who spend few weeks a year in their hometown come together and do something positive for Matera. It is a wonderful thing - in my opinion - because in this way we can maintain and make the feeling with our city stronger. A city that needs us. Anyway… we will tell you during our session and you can see also our video! About unMonastery residency program for students, I also think it is an important opportunity for thesis projects. We can publicize it through our network of students who follow Profumo di Svolta, but I think that a public conference (or unconferece - I try :wink: ) in LOTE is not the best way because few materani will participate (students aren’t in Matera in this period). We can make a post or a multimedia content and share it, I think!

Noemi, thank you. Having a blog and a Facebook profile is not enough for us and for our way of living the relationship with Matera.

A session is enough for our presentation and it’s better on Saturday. Maybe after or before mt2019 community presentation (we share many Profumo di Svolta projects with community).

Ben, thank you very much for the welcoming. The opportunity of unMonastery residency program is already on our internal Facebook group, but only 2 or 3 of us are going to graduate next year… Anyway I think we can do something to spread the range of the students who will know unMonastery! I will be in Matera on October 26 so we can meet up after LOTE. I think also someone else of us, anyway there are also some friend who still attend the last year at school.


Hi Giuseppe,

I look forward to your presentation and beyond. As you will soon experience first hand, the Edgeryders community is made of a wide scope of personalities, interests & talents serving a somewhat common objective of collaborative empowerment and impact. I personally see myself as an outside resource supporting initiatives implemented by local communities (insiders). As such, I will be happy to provide any help you need within the limits of my available time and abilities. See you next weekend, D